Gardening in Alberta definitely has its challenges. Not only do we have frigid cold temperatures, but for those of us gardening in southern Alberta, we get chinook winds which can be especially hard on perennials.
Alberta gardeners know that it is possible to get snow on any given month of the year. Challenges include a short window of frost free growing days, cool garden soil, high winds, and deer (among other garden pests). Our short Alberta growing season tends to cause us to pack all the gardening we can into those few frost free months. But hey, at least we get a long period of rest through the winter.
Although it is more challenging to grow food for your family in your Alberta garden than in many warmer climates, it is far from impossible. With some knowledge and planning you can produce a bountiful Alberta garden. Did you know there are some plants (like spinach) that prefer cool soil and cool weather?
One benefit of being an Alberta gardener is that we have fewer pests and diseases than many warmer climates. I mean, ginormous spiders and scorpions, or short a short growing season? Maybe the short growing season isn't so bad after all...
Alberta Growing Zones
Alberta growing zones range from zone 1 to zone 5. Make sure to figure out exactly what growing zone you are in, and to always buy perennials suitable for that zone or lower.
Fruit, Herbs and Vegetables that Grow well in Alberta Gardens
Lets take a look at some of the crops that grow well in Alberta. To find more details about growing individual plants you can click the underlined ones.
Best Fruit to Grow in Alberta
This list is not all inclusive, but includes the fruit I have grown with the most success.
Find more information on the best fruit to grow in Alberta along with specific fruit variety recommendations here.
Best Herbs to Grow in Alberta
Best Vegetables to Grow in Alberta
If you are in gardening zones 4 or 5, have a greenhouse, poly tunnel, cold frame, or a warm spot on your deck, these heat loving plants can also be grown in Alberta
Best Flowers to Grow in Alberta Gardens
Although there are many flowers that grow well in Alberta, I won't cover them all today. For information on flowers that grow well in zone 3 you can check out this seasonal bloom guide from Alberta Garden Girl or these 57 Perennial Plants from Shifting Roots.
Soil Amendments for Alberta Gardeners
Much of the soil and water in Alberta tends to be alkaline. Most plants and almost all vegetables prefer slightly acidic soil. Compost and peat moss are both great options to add to your Alberta garden soil. Compost not only helps to lower the soil pH, but also aids to build up nutritious soil for best plant growth.
As well as lowering soil pH, adding peat moss helps loosen up the hard clay soil most often found in Alberta gardens as well as retaining moisture.
Find more tips on amending Alberta garden soil here.
When to Plant in Alberta
The last frost date for those of us gardening in Alberta has such a wide range, so this list of when to plant what outdoors varies slightly from northern Alberta to southern Alberta but can be used as a guideline for when to plant your Alberta garden.
As well, I have a printable When to Start Seeds Indoors in Alberta available.
I hope that these tips have encouraged you to go ahead and start planning your Alberta garden and I wish you all the best in your endeavour. May you fall in love with gardening and growing food for your family just as I have.
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